JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Considering the blizzard conditions that have buried moat of the east coast, I should have posted my tips for eating in a power outage Friday! Unusually, while my sister and brother and their families are up to their waists in snow, it's been clear and dry here in Maine. However, it's been wicked cold (as we like to say;) the kind of weather that makes you want to sit close to the fire and have something warm and filling for dinner. You also want to have leftovers for lunch the next day, so that means...stew!
(I believe stew may be the best part of winter. I don't know if I'll ever be able to be a snowbird, because can you eat stew in Key West when it's in the 70s?)
This is the lamb stew recipe Ross used when we had four friends over for dinner last week. I also made a pot of my butternut squash soup, and with bread, we all ate our fill. However, there was no stew left over, which made Ross smirk a little. It is even better the second day.
1-1/2 lbs lamb stew meat (we get boneless leg o' lamb and cube it ourselves, which saves some $)
2 T olive oil, divided
3 large onions, quartered
4-5 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
5-6 potatoes, peeled and cubed (if using red or yellow potatoes, no need to peel them)
1 can (14-1/2 oz) low-sodium beef broth (we wound up using extra to stretch the recipe.)
1 t salt (this is in the original recipe, but we use a salt substitute, because HBP)
½ t pepper
2 T butter
2 T flour
3 t parsley, ½ that if you have fresh, which we didn't
3 t minced chives (we substituted chopped small leeks, can also use green onions)1 t thyme, ½ again, if you're the kind of black belt cook who has little pots of herbs growing in your kitchen all winter
Heat oven to 350F.
In a dutch oven (we used our Le Creuset casserole pot) brown the lamb in 1T of the oil until you can't see any pink. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set it aside. Saute the onions and carrots with the rest of the oil, then add the potatoes, lamb, salt (substitute) and pepper and finally, the broth.
Cover and bake in oven for 50-60 minutes, until everything is fork-tender. (This was really useful: it freed up the stovetop so I could make my soup without bumping into another large pot.)
Remove the lamb and veg into one bowl and the juices into another, You're going to be whisking them back in, so I suggest a large measuring cup or bowl with a lip.
Melt the butter in the dutch oven and whisk in the flour to make a roux. Slowly pour in the juices, whisking to keep it smooth. If you want to stretch the stew, add more butter and flour and more broth.
Stir in the rest of the seasonings and the lamb/veg. Dish it up! We served our meal with a Côtes du Rhône for the stew and a Prosecco for the squash soup, but this is a traditional British Isles kind of stew, and goes well with beer, too.